Epigenetics and Nutrigenomics
Epigenetics is an exciting area of genetics research that explores answers on how the genetic code in DNA is affected by aging, life style, the environment influence and much more.
In Epigenetics, organisms with identical alleles, like twins, can exhibit different phenotypes because of the influence of the environment.
Some epigenetics effects are normal and useful, they control how cells look and behave, other act like mutations and can cause diseases like cancer.
MTHFR mutation results in a deficit of methylations, chemical process for a methyl group, -CH3, is added to a molecule, usually DNA, controlling numerous body’s functions.
With lack of methylations there are therefore a variety of problems mainly related to cardiovascular, neurological inflammation, and cancer.
One of the researchers that I follow for this specific topic is Dr. Ben Lynch, Naturopath and Biology Molecular specialist, owner of two different informational and educational websites on the subject, webinars, summits and world conferences organizer and participant.
The other specialist in Epigenetics and Nutrigenomics and that I follow from many years, is Dr. Peter D’Adamo, the creator of the Blood Type Diet and author of many books, the most famous and that gave him his notoriety, “Eat Right 4 Your Type” has sold millions of copies around the world; recently he has published a new edition.
A meticulous researcher, Dr.D’Adamo also is the creator of software and sophisticated data analyzer. He has found his own school on Epigenetics and Nutrigenomics.
Both these doctors have developed systems of data interpretation of 23 and Me, genetic test, for practitioners to better understand and to address their patient’s therapy. These are the Opus 23 of D. Peter D’Adamo and the Strate Gene of Dr. Ben Lynch
In general, if we over-methylate or hypo-methylate our system, we may encounter the risk of activating the oncogenes in our body toward proliferation and cancer. This is why a balance is necessary in these cases at different levels to keep from hyper-methylating or hypo-methylating, either way methylation must be under control to avoid cancer proliferation and not simply that.
The MTHFR mutations are associated with problems mainly related to cardiovascular and neurological inflammation, hypertension, thrombosis, strokes, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, MS, dementia, Alzheimer, autism, and more.
The C677T allele of these mutations is mainly responsible for causing high levels of homocysteine, discussed risk for cardiovascular disease. The A1298C is instead related to neurological inflammation.
The risk is based on the percentage of the defect and from the homozygous, or heterozygous condition of the mutation, and is mainly controlled by methyl-donors like, methyl folates, which are a reduced form of folic acid, the form that the body can assimilate, and methyl-12, a methylate form of vitamin B12, or cobalamin. But the methylation cycle involved with this metabolic pathway includes many more metabolites and cofactors essential for managing these deficits, as vitamin B2 and B6 and Magnesium to mention some of these. If both defects are present, C677T and A1298C, the combination is defined as heterozygous compound.
The reason why folic acid is not recommended is because the mutation itself causes a deficit of the enzyme catabolizing folic acid. Dr. Lynch is one of the most alarming speaker on this subject. If folic acid is over- introduced from diet and supplementation will block the site for methyl-folates, the final form of the folic acid processed in body, and these will accumulate in the system causing serious side effects, this phenomena is called methyl-trap.
There might be cancer implication if the bad genes are turned on, for it is better to silence these genes than to turn them active, and this is why methylation is important, especially if the genes turned on are the bad ones. But there is to be careful, too much methylation is not good, so as too little.
A recent summit organized from Dr B. Lynch titled “Dirty Genes” has been discussing and reviewing the latest updates, and in his just released new book, “Dirty Genes”, Dr. Lynch describes the concept of dirty genes itself and most common SNPs, single nucleotide polymorphisms, or genes mutations, and protocols to follow without even testing genetically thanks to questionnaires in the book; main suggestions for most of the SNPs, healthy life style and diet, avoidance of toxins and stress, appropriate sleep and exercise.
Supporting methylations is very important and life style and food are the best way to do it in this case.
Most important the diet and how we nourish our body, and the Blood Type Diet as an arrangement of the Mediterranean Diet looks the most appropriate in many cases because mainly based on healthy grains and fruit and vegetables, and high-quality fats and proteins, but with the respect of the immunologic system of each blood group, and consideration of methylation to a proper level and natural detoxification.
But, today there are so many diets and the most of the Nutritionist and Naturopaths are including their own type of diet and protocols in their books.
Dirty Genes book, for example, has enlisted variety of “Clean Genes” recipes for the different SNPs with a gene meal guide, cooking instructions and dressing preparation.
Going back to the the blood types, so as many diseases are blood type related, there are foods implicated with each blood type to be the cause of immunological reaction, inflammation and autoimmunity, and from here cancer.
There is a relation between autoimmunity and cancer, and variety of markers and receptors with similarity with blood type antigens, and which in some cases can be a sort of protection against cancer, so as the difference between secretor and non-secretor.
The 80% of the population carry blood type antigens in their secrets, or body fluids, and these are defined secretors, the 20% does not, these are the non-secretors; this characteristic confers different immune resistance, of course the secretors are more protect under an immunological point of view.
Could cancer be related to blood groups susceptibility and sensibility, and to the difference between secretor and non-secretor? Is Dr. Peter D’Adamo right about his theories on blood type and immunological reactions to food’s lectins?
The blood type diet science of Dr. Peter D’Adamo provides the explanation of how the immune system interacts with food lectins with the same principles of our immune system reacts to foreign agents, antigens and microbes.
Leaky gut and health of microbiome relate to the most of disease, this the basic concept of the emerging science and the same science mentioned from Dr. D’Adamo from years now.
Autoimmunity plays a big role in all of this and mainly connected to gluten sensitivity, from here the leaky gut and all the consequences.
Dr. Tom O’Brian, the specialist in regard of gluten sensitivity and autoimmunity thinks that all the diseases come from an autoimmune process caused by intolerance to foods, mainly gluten, the toxic part of wheat.
Cancer of course is one of the consequences, and if we add the MTHFR gene mutations, huge stress in life, poor habits, and all the toxins from the environment, the risks are amplified.
The list of doctors and subjects treated in these last years has grown enormously and I have been engaged to report and summarize part of these new funds to the public who does not know yet.
Thanks for reading.
Methylation and Clinical Nutrigenomics I, Online course by Dr. Ben Lynch N.D.
Seeking Health.com Continuing Education